BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – A United States of America (USA) -based group, Towards A Corrupt-Free Nigeria (TACN), has pleaded with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) to remain neutral and apolitical in its fight against corruption.
The group warned that the anti-graft agency should not allow itself to become a political tool to be used by politicians to achieve nefarious aims as shown in the recent seizures of property said to be owned by the Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Bala Mohammed.
This was contained in a statement released in Washington DC and signed by the National Coordinator Abimbola Mohammed, National Secretary, Angus Briggs (MD) and the National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Chinyere Momah.
According to the statement,“There is need to be concerned about the recent cases that the ICPC has taken on because it will be suicidal to allow another anti-corruption agency to go the way of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). We have already lost the EFCC to political mechanizations and god fathers. We don’t want the ICPC to follow suit.”
The group, which draws membership from all the geo-political zones of Nigeria resident in the United States, is a registered non-governmental organization tasked with ensuring a corrupt-free country suitable for investors and would-be holiday makers and/or tourists to find Nigeria a suitable destination.
Angus Briggs, the National Secretary who is a medical practitioner and a business owner in Atlanta, Georgia, expressed concern over the worsening effort to combat the menace of corrupt practices.
According to Briggs, “The recent public announcement by the ICPC that it has seized a landed property belonging to Governor Bala Mohammed was a bad sign the ICPC has become a political tool just like the EFCC. It is sad to know that the ICPC made such a sensitive statement without first obtaining a court ruling on the said property”.
He queried why the ICPC could not wait to get the courts to rule on the property before proceeding with the announcement.
“Would it be that all the ICPC wanted to achieve was mere political noise?” he asked.
Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, recently stated that the “fight against corruption in Nigeria has gone a notch or two higher with increase in sanction against politically exposed persons; conscious effort at preventing the menace; and robust assets tracing and recovery measures”.
However, “the Chairman of the ICPC and the board of ICPC cannot say with a straight and clear conscience that the fight against corruption has improved without acknowledging that the fight is far from being apolitical, fair and impartial. The 48 properties previously seized by the EFCC that was returned to Timipre Sylva is open for all to see and grief about. It was and remains an aberration, a clear anomaly to the manner corruption should be fought.
“And to imagine that the same Timipre Sylva was rewarded for his gross corrupt activity with a ministerial position, is pitiful,” decried Momah.